The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has admitted that one of their newly-elected members of Berlin’s state parliament was once a member of the extremist right-wing, anti-Islam group known as the German Defence League.

As reported by The Local, Kay Nerstheimer, who was elected to the parliament as a direct candidate for the eastern Lichtenberg district, had been a member of the group as recently as 2012.

The German Defence League – styled after the English Defence League – declares that “Islam does not belong to Germany”, and says it will protect “our culture, values and traditions”.

The AfD regional chair, Georg Pazderski, claimed that Nerstheimer ended his activities with the group after it came under surveillance in 2013 by Germany’s domestic security agency, the Verfassungsschutz.

However, the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reported on September 20 that Nerstheimer has repeatedly posted on Facebook in recent years messages glorifying the Nazi time, trivializing the acts of Nazi war criminals, and using certain phrases often espoused by the Third Reich.

In one post, Nerstheimer shared a photo of soldiers in Adolf Hitler’s army with the caption: “Each of them is a fine example to the people”.

And as recently as July, Nerstheimer shared a link to a video with the title “It’s all a LIE! The true cause of the war of 1939”. The video showed a presentation by German author Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof, who disputes Germany’s guilt in the Second World War, in one book even blaming Poland.

In January, Nerstheimer called the wave of asylum seekers coming to Germany an “illegal invasion” and referred Syrian refugees as “simply disgusting vermin” and black people “Bimbos”, which in German is used as an offensive racial epithet.